Thursday, November 22, 2012

Swiss Win World Police Sailing Championships

J/80s sailing World Police Sailing Championship in Hong Kong(Hong Kong, China)-  Imagine working "the beat" in your local city as a police officer on a daily basis wondering, hoping, wishing that nothing goes wrong so that as one of the chosen few in your police force you can travel half-way around the world to sail in J/80s off the magical island of Hong Kong! Wow, not only would it be a privilege to participate amongst the world's elite in law enforcement, but it would have to be one of the most thrilling experiences of a lifetime to earn your "credits/ stars" (or whatever is required) to be part of the four person team winging across the world's continents and vast expanses of oceans to sail amongst fellow enthusiasts who also love wind and water.  To be sure, target shooting skills were NOT on the agenda, just sailing, fun, beer, cultural activities and a few parties tossed in to keep everything in balance.  Who wouldn't want to participate in this event if you're on any police force anywhere on Planet Earth!?  I guess the Americans didn't heed the call, their loss, as much is to be learned from their contemporaries around the world.  Looks like the Swiss, Austrians, Germans, Dutch, English, Aussies, Irish, and Hong Kongers had a ball!  In fact, the Swiss had so much fun, they decided to win it all, with the Switzerland (St Galler) team and the Switzerland (Lucerne) team taking 1st and 2nd, respectively, on the podium!

J/80 World Police Sailing police officers- having fun- winning Swiss crew.The hosts for this year's 12th World Police Sailing Championships was the Hong Kong Police Sailing Club.  The event was held in the waters of Hong Kong Harbour and surrounding areas using the versatile J-80 Sailboats.  The seven-day long event was epic, fun, gorgeous, amazing and the schedule of both sailing events and social entertainment each night ensured the sailors had lots of war stories to tell to their mates later.  While the Hong Kong Police SC were the principal hosts, they could not have pulled it off without the enthusiastic support of the three primary sailing clubs in the area contributing their fleets of J/80s, including Royal Hong Kong YC (and usage of their Middle Island harbour facility), Hebe Haven Boat Club and the Aberdeen Boat Club.

J/80 sailing past massive radar/comms installation in Hong KongThe sailors were treated to an adventurous series of both passage races as well as windward-leeward courses over five days of racing.  Monday saw four W/L's off Royal Hong Kong YC's Middle Island with drinks/dinner at Aberdeen Boat Club.  Tuesday was a passage race from RHKYC to Hebe Haven YC with drinks at Hebe Haven BC and curry buffet dinner at Aberdeen BC on Middle Island.  Wednesday offered the sailors three W/L races off Middle Island with an evening soiree at Hebe Haven BC.  Thursday was Lay Day-- the crews needed it by now-- but the shopping was frenetic!!  Friday saw one W/L race, then a passage race from Hebe Haven YC to Royal Hong Kong YC followed by drinks/ dinner at RHKYC.  On Saturday, the last day saw a classic "Harbour Tour Race" with evening drinks, prize-giving at the Hong Kong Police SC HQ (courtesy of Carlsberg Beers!).

J/80 police sailors- navigating for sailing regatta in Hong KongSo, the natural question to ask is "how is it possible that anyone could combine so much sailing and entertainment in one week"??  Perhaps that question could be answered by veterans of some of the world's more renowned race weeks (like Key West, Cowes Week, SPI Ouest, Block Island, Capri, Newport, Rolex Big Boat, Palma and others).  Nevertheless, some of the world's best police officers managed to sail fast, smart and kept themselves out of trouble (on the water, that is).  Leading the pack home by a "squeaker" was the Switzerland (St Galler) team on the great yacht "JAILBREAKER" (appropriately, enough).  Their team of Geisser, Rieser, Fritsche, and Pasche won by only one point after eleven races, dropping a 14th in the last W/L and a 7th in Race 2 and winning the last race to seal the deal over their countrymen in 2nd place.  Easily sailing the most consistent score in the series was Switzerland (Lucerne) sailing JIVE with the team of Schumacher, Vogel, Koller and Oehen.  Their low point score of 33 was not good enough, since after two drops their 19 pts was just one pt back from the gold.  Third sailing JELIK 6 was the Netherlands (Team Amsterdam) team that consisted of Migchelsen, Sikkens, Derjik and Vanderveen with 23 pts.  Rounding out the top five was the top Hong Kong Team #1 sailing JOSS that had Tait, Leung, Armstrong and Lau sailing aboard in 4th and in 5th was the top German Team #2 sailing JELIK 7 with Uden, Weissenbom, Knospe and Eden as team-mates.

J/80  one-design sailboats- sailing upwind off start in Hong Kong Police Sailing regattaCongratulations to all thirteen teams that participated for making the effort to participate and travel so far to such an extraordinarily fun, exotic sailing adventure! Plus, great appreciation was expressed by all to the three sailing clubs- Royal Hong Kong YC, Hebe Haven BC and Aberdeen BC for graciously supplying their J/80 one-design class sailboats.  Finally, kudos go to the Hong Kong Police SC's band of volunteers that helped organize the event.  Everyone is looking forward to sailing next year, hopefully, with some Americans and South Americans participating, too!   For more World Police Sailing Championship sailing information